BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY By SRUTHI SRINIVAS
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AT A GLANCE Location Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Date : Early morning of 3rd december, 1984. -Type : Industrial chemical Accident. Cause : Gas Leakage
INTRODUCTION It is also referred as Bhopal disaster. Took place at Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant. On the night of 2-3 December 1984, the plant released approximately 40 tonnes f toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, exposing more than 500,000 people to toxic gases. Till 2010 it is the worlds worst industrial disaster
UCIL(Union Carbide India Limited) Established in 1970 in Bhopal. Manufactures carbonyl (carbomate) pesticide using methyl isocyanate (MIC). Owped by union carbide and carbon cooperation UCC) and Indian investors. An 1980's, the demand for pesticide has fallen, but production continued, leading to build up of stores for unused MIC
INCIDENT Methyl isocyanate is leaked from the pipeline which was about 40 tons of weight. n the winter night of December, there were fog like clouds over south and east of the plant. -The gas sprcead over 40 square KMs arca over 40 square KMs area
About 5100 people were found dead (2600 due do direct exposure to MIC and 2500 due to after effects of the exposure) About 2,50,000 people got exposed to MIC left with permanent or partial disabilities. Without counting the damage of human lives, Around 570 million dollars were spent for cleaning up and damage settlement
OCCURENCE Due to accidental entry of water in tank E610 containing the reaction mixture (Methyl amine reacts with phosgene giving MIC) The tank got overheated and exploded because its cooling system has failed. The MIC leaked from the cracks of the tank.
CAUSES Corporate Negligence. The plant has two main safety devices: 1. Scrubber, which neutralize the gas with caustic soda and 2. Flare tower, where the gas can be burnt off. Both the safety devices failed to operate on that particular day.
The refrigeration units for the storage tanks containing MIC gas were out of order for several months The water jet had failed to reach at the top of the 120 ft stack from which MIC gas was gushing out. The poisonous gas was stored in the tanks for more than two months, violating the safety les The factory turned on the public siren about an hour after the gas started releasing into the atmosphere
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